Nature or Nurture? Science or Experience?

People have been debating whether behaviour is controlled by ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ since we first learnt how physical things like hair colour and height are inherited.  Some used to argue that we are all born as a physical ‘blank slate’ and that personality and behaviour result solely from experience.  Others believed that personality is genetically programmed in the same way as physical traits are and that learning can do little to change this.  Over the years research has shown that we are in fact controlled by a combination of both.  Most recently remarkable advances in our understanding of genetics has shown that our experiences and the environment can actually switch genes on and off, further confirming the link between nature and nurture. Continue reading “Nature or Nurture? Science or Experience?”

Do dogs feel guilt?

It is common for a dog to lower his head, tuck his tail and sneak away if caught doing something his owner feels he shouldn’t.  He may even do so if simply found at the scene of an earlier ‘crime’.  People often read this a sign the dog feels guilty for what he has done.  But guilt is a complex emotion.  Do dogs feel it?  Continue reading “Do dogs feel guilt?”